How Long Can Chickens Go Without Water? Like all living things, chickens need water to survive.
However, the answer to how long can chickens go without water usually depends on the kind of chicken we’re talking about. Other factors related to fowl behavior are also taken into consideration, like laying eggs, molting, and growing feathers.
Temperature levels factor into the equation, as well.
Table of Contents
How Long Can Chickens Go Without Water?
Generally, if the climate is just right and isn’t too warm, healthy chickens are able to survive a full 48 hours without water. If you factor in heat or warm conditions, then that’s going to be another story.
Chickens kept in regions where the heat can really do a number on them won’t last more than eight hours without proper water supply.
Lack of Water Access for Hens
Chickens that don’t have access to water normally experience shock. For instance, hens that are in full lay might stop laying for an entire fortnight if they’re left without any water.
Lack of water can leave a chicken with a dried-out crop that is no longer able to moisten food, which, consequently, halts its digestive process.
A full day without water can be a nightmare for chickens, particularly for hens who need to be hydrated to lay eggs. Hens will start to struggle or become completely incapable of regulating their body temperature and would need to seek shelter from the heat.
Whether or not they find cover, however, their suffering will continue.
Ice thaws, so water is going to be everywhere, right? Yes, ice, indeed, melts, but not for a long time, or sometimes never where other regions are concerned.
In any case, you’re going to find that cold conditions are just as bad as hot temperatures in terms of how they can impact water access for chickens.
The survival rate is slightly higher for chickens in the snowy regions.
When healthy, these animals can go for more than two days without water, eating the snow that’s trapping them inside their coop out of their fierce desperation to survive. Keep in mind, however, that snow isn’t good for chickens in the long run.
During the cold months, cockerels, as well as hens that have taken a break from egg-laying, don’t struggle as much with lack of water. The former, because it doesn’t lay eggs and, the latter, because it’s in its resting phase and doesn’t require as much energy.
This is also true for chickens that have already gone through the molting process and have regrown their feathers.
Chicks are as fragile as they come, and, for them, even a few hours without water can be a death sentence. Make sure your baby chicks don’t go without water for more than six hours.
Since chicks are normally placed in a warm environment by their brooder, they need regular access to water for cooling as well as their normal biological processes.
These younglings do not have the immune system or the reserves of adults, which is why they need to take in smaller amounts of water more frequently.
Newly hatched chicks, on the other hand, will get all the nutrition they need for the next three days from their yolk. Once the 72 hours are up, however, the baby chicks are going to need water a lot.
How Much Water Do Chickens Need?
Chickens kept indoors are known to consume around 180 ml to 250 ml of water on a daily basis, which means flocks that are kept outdoors could easily drink twice as much.
With that said, consider providing as much as 500 ml of water per chicken each day.
Broilers or meat chickens have a faster growth rate that contributes to their higher water consumption. For each of these chickens, make sure to leave at least one liter of water on a regular day.
Since we’re discussing a lot about chicken types, make it a point to educate yourself on the best chicken breeds for rural living or your backyard. Useful and detailed information about each breed should help you learn more about how to take care of chickens better.
Why Do Chickens Need Water?
We all know that chickens need water to survive, but what exactly do they need it for? Here’s a breakdown of a chicken’s activities and functions that would not be possible without water:
The role of water in this particular activity leaves no room for doubt. Chickens need water to hydrate and infuse their bodies with the energy that allows them to engage in a variety of daily activities—from mating and laying eggs to running around and flying.
Plus, let’s not forget the necessity of water for seasonal processes like molting. Everything a chicken does throughout its life requires the energy and nutrients provided by feed and a regular supply of clean water.
Water is especially crucial in the digestive process as it moistens the food stored in the chicken’s crop. Without regular water access, a chicken won’t be able to get enough water into its crop, causing it to dry and, ultimately, stopping digestion.
You can probably imagine how bad this is for your fowl.
Waste is easier to eject when it’s moist. Chickens rely on water to soften up those hard feed as well as foreign materials that manage to make their way into the animal’s digestive system.
Chickens aren’t exactly known to be picky eaters and are likely to consume anything that can fit into their beaks. Water helps ensure that whatever these animals eat, they’ll be able to get out of their system easily.
Water helps chickens regulate their body temperature, keeping them cool, active, and healthy even when it’s extra warm outside.
Without regular access to water, chickens are unable to rely on this function and will either need to stay under the shade constantly or wait until it’s cool enough to venture out into the open. Either way, this situation is going to result in a lot of suffering for these animals.
We’re always emphasizing the importance of regular water access for hens that are in full lay, and egg formation is the reason why. Did you know that chicken eggs are made up of 70% water?
Lack of a regular supply of water during the egg-laying phase is not only going to be really bad for the hens, but it’s also going to do a number on their eggs, affecting their development and even leaving the life inside vulnerable.
What You Should Do for Chickens That Don’t Have Access to Water
If you notice that your flock of chickens was left without water, provide them with a clean supply right away. Chickens should always be given water before they feed.
If they’re provided feed first, they’re not going to have enough water in their crops to moisten food. Furthermore, this could also lead to crop problems, which could impact a chicken’s health in the long run.
It always helps to provide chickens with feed that has already been moistened. A few soaked grains should get things going and do wonders for your chicken’s digestive system.
Can Chickens Go an Entire Night Without Water?
Like humans, who can go eight hours to half a day without water, chickens are all good going an entire night without water. Keepers don’t usually keep water in the coop overnight as it tends to dampen the environment and lead to rat problems.
With how health-sensitive chickens are, you can’t give vermin any opportunity to infect their surroundings with bacteria or, worse, feed on the chicks. As far as your flock is concerned, you just need to make sure that water is readily available in their coop, as well as on the pasture.
Do Chickens Need Water Daily?
Yes, you need to give your chickens water on a daily basis. During the summer, keepers should provide their flocks with water twice a day.
Furthermore, if you’re raising chickens in really warm regions, then you may have to give them clean water as much as four times per day.
Cleanliness is paramount when giving your chickens water. For the most part, these animals are vulnerable and can easily fall prey to a variety of ailments. Also, health problems, like the flu, can be deadly to your fowl.
Providing your roosters and hens with the cleanest water around goes a long way to boosting their immune system and keeping those germs and bacteria at bay.
Rainwater is an acceptable water supply for your pets, but you must store it in a dark lidded barrel until it’s needed.
A big part of caring for your chickens is providing them a sufficient amount of water every day. In a lot of places, if you fail to do this, you could get in real trouble with the law.
Tips for Watering Chickens
Water is as important to chickens as it is to humans and every other organism. You know this and, therefore, do your very best to provide your chickens with a clean supply of water every single day.
Then again, you have to ask yourself: Is the water really clean?
Water can appear clean to the naked eye but still be filled with bacteria and other microorganisms that are harmful to chickens.
Included in our tips for providing water to your fouls is making sure the pipes and waterers are clean. Here are the others:
1. Use Elevated Water Containers
When chickens scratch themselves, they end up spraying dirt and tiny debris everywhere. These materials can end up negatively affecting the quality of their drinking water.
To address this issue, you can place the water containers in a slightly elevated area that’s just enough for the chickens to reach.
In this way, they can comfortably drink from their water vessels without getting any dirt in the water.
2. Provide Two or More Water Sources
If you have a bigger flock, a single water source won’t be enough to hydrate all your chickens. There will be a natural pecking order, and those on the bottom can be left out. Some of them will either end up with barely any water or no water at all, which is something you want to keep from happening.
Additionally, keepers will also need to work double-time to refill a single water source. One chicken can consume as much as 500 ml of water daily, so that would mean countless refills in a single day, particularly during warm weather.
3. Keep Water in the Shade
Searing temperatures can heat up the water in those containers like nobody’s business, rendering it almost undrinkable. Also, water that’s kept for hours under the sun is going to evaporate quicker, emptying containers faster and leaving your chickens with nothing to help quench their thirst.
Water containers should be kept in the shade to keep these problems from arising and doubling your workload.
4. Hide Water Containers From Other Animals
Keepers will want to keep water containers hidden from other animals so that their chickens won’t run out of water. Situate water vessels in areas that are away from the line of sight of wild birds and other pesky critters that also get thirsty.
Keep in mind that broilers alone can consume as much as one liter of water a day because of their high growth rate, so you’re going to want to keep the water supply in the coop exclusively for your flock.
5. Splash Some Apple Cider at Least Once a Week
We already know that water has several proven benefits for chickens, one of them being an aid for digestion.
However, since chickens are notorious for gobbling up anything they can fit inside their beaks, including tiny hard objects, you’ll want to take the digestion process up a notch every week or so.
On the days you decide to do this, add a bit of apple cider vinegar into the water sources. Apple cider not only helps improve digestion, but it also enhances the detoxification process. Every once in a while, your chickens could use a bit of apple cider in their systems.
Final Thoughts: The Best Waterers for Chickens
Consider chicken watering systems and ideas. A vacuum-sealed galvanized drinker can do wonders for your chickens. It also keeps you from dwelling on the question: How long can chickens go without water?
Why? Because you no longer have to worry about your flock running out of water.
Get about five or six of these water vessels to help provide your chickens with a nearly everlasting water source. These receptacles are awesome, simple, easy to fill, and effortless to clean. It will also mean even the least aggressive chickens will have enough to drink.
You’ll also want to keep them on a level surface so that the water inside them doesn’t drain away.